Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) joined Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Madison, Alabama, Sunday and surprised many by becoming the highest profile endorsement yet for the multi-billionaire real estate developer turned politician. Sessions is a leading Republican hawk on the issues of trade, illegal immigration, and has called for an investigation into the H1-B Visa Program.
Sessions is wildly popular figure in his home state who ran unopposed in his most recent reelection campaign in 2014. As a highly respected member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sessions is expected to have an outsized role in the nomination hearings for the next Supreme Court Justice. Sessions has been a vocal critic of President Obama’s agenda on Free Trade and Immigration Reform.
Immigration topped the list of concerns for some in the crowd as well. Among them was Robert Brewster, a 38-year-old home-improvement worker wearing a Trump T-shirt who said he drove up from Birmingham for the event. He said he supported Mr. Trump for his unwavering opposition to illegal immigration. “I’m in construction,” he said. “Sections of it have been taken away completely by illegal immigrants.”
Charles Howe, a 58-year-old construction worker from Birmingham, said an influx of undocumented workers in Alabama made a home-interiors business he used to own unsustainable because the arrivals drove down prices for work. “We couldn’t compete with them,” he said. “I lost a business because of immigration.”
The endorsement comes at an opportune time for Trump as he has faced criticisms recently for his refusal to release his tax returns, wavering on his reaction to the news of being endorsed by David Duke, and resurfaced questions about his business record. While the triumvirate of controversies may be too little too late to change the outcome of Super Tuesday they will likely serve as fodder for the eventual Democratic Nominee.
Senator Ted Cruz found himself on the losing side of the endorsement:
Cruz and Sessions, one of the most conservative members of the Senate, have forged a close relationship in recent years. Cruz has regularly made reference to Sessions on the trail, emphasizing the mutual respect between the two.
Sessions had been a key influence on Trump’s policy paper on Immigration Reform and some have suggested a possible Vice-President or Attorney General pick. Prior to Sunday Sessions had never made a Presidential endorsement before.
[Reuters] [Wall Street Journal] [Washington Post] [DonaldJTrump.com] [AL.com] [Photo courtesy Yellow Hammer News]